A few words about last week’s column — you know, the one that almost didn’t get written? Because I spoke my truth about the ongoing and always changing grief journey, I almost expected mail from readers starting with “Dear Debbie Downer.” But it didn’t happen. Mail is still coming in, and all carry more or less the same message. I’m withholding names, but here are three examples. One is a local reader and the other two are not.
“I feel your pain, Bobbie, and it is helping me embrace my own — at this very moment.”
“I have been missing your honest words about how things are going since the loss of your husband. Thank you for today’s message. I share your words of wisdom with my buddies — especially two who are grieving. You do help many, many. We all have our stuff … and support is so valuable. You go, girl!”
“So glad you decided to publish this week. The message and authentic feelings are what draws your loyal readers. You are going to receive a boatload of heartfelt messages. Your honest statement of grief and life’s curveballs are somber but also straightforward. This is the strength and authenticity of your writing. Today’s column is a gift. Thank you.”
The response from readers makes me glad I did not wimp out. But before being able to write what was forefront on my mind last week, I turned to a favorite quote that helps me deal with setbacks and also makes me smile: “I threw in the towel, but God threw it back saying, ‘Here, wipe your face. This too shall pass.’” (author unknown). And so, with gratitude to all you angel readers, my weird sense of humor is back and consequently, the following:
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The Oddest Obituary
I knew the day was coming. I could tell because he was slowing down. Sometimes he would just sit in a corner and blink at me.
Once in awhile a reader would inquire because I have certainly written about him in this column. Then when he died, I didn’t have the heart to tell you.
I’m referring, of course, to Waldo, the robotic vacuum cleaner I bought several years ago. That little guy was an amazing workhorse, along with being quite an entertainer for someone like me who is easily entertained.
The name Waldo seemed appropriate because I was never quite sure where the heck he was. His motor was on the quiet side but, then again, perhaps I was starting to lose hearing without realizing it. Sometimes Waldo would get tangled up in a cat toy, which caused him to stop working and just sit defiantly beeping in front of me in my lazy girl chair.
Besides having clean carpets and floors, it was fun watching Waldo when he headed back to the laundry room to recharge himself. He would roll into that room, turn himself around, and then wiggle his rear end until it connected with the docking station.
I don’t have a clue how this technology works. He would not shut off his headlight until I emptied his filter. That’s all you have to do, other than occasionally pulling strings and rubber bands out of his belly brush.
After Waldo’s demise, I got a replacement and named him Waldo Two. I have several friends with robot vacuums that all have female names like Fiona, Pricilla and Betty Beep. I kind of like the idea of a male doing some work around here.
I know you are going to ask about what my cat Purrfect thinks about Waldo. Who knows what cats think? She follows him at a respectful distance, but she does seem somewhat resentful that the robot’s docking station is in the laundry room, which Purrfect considers her territory. Perhaps they will eventually work it out and learn to share. RIP Waldo One.
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I’m grateful to readers who follow this column and continue to keep me inspired by telling me in person when I’m out and about in the community, or by firing emails my way. Because of you, The Beat will go on, for now — and because of last week’s subject there has been a sudden uptick in orders for the Burt Book, AKA ”Good Grief.” I mail it out from home with the help of a friend, and if you want one just let me know. All the proceeds go to the Rotary International Foundation in Burt’s memory, and every few months Rotary sends a nice letter of appreciation.
My husband loved Rotary and its mission to help people around the world. I can honestly feel Burt smiling his approval. Lord, how I miss that smile!
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]